Woody Herman

Best of Woody Herman & His Big Band: The Concord Years [Concord]

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In his last years, Woody Herman's big band was quite active and productive. As he battled the IRS, his music reflected that engaged and driven spirit. This collection from the Concord label is a solid example of what Herman and his bandmates still had to offer, avoiding his occasional pop proclivities. Old favorites "Four Brothers" and "Perdido" are included, as well as more challenging modern pieces like "'Round Midnight," "The Dolphin" (featuring composer Stan Getz as lead tenor saxophonist,) John Coltrane's ever gorgeous "Central Park West," and a touch of Duke Ellington. Guest soloists for cameos include Al Cohn, Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, or Woody Shaw, and you hear several bandmembers who became leaders in their own right like Bob Belden, John Fedchock, Gary Smulyan, and especially Frank Tiberi, who would front Herman's Big Herd after Woody's passing. This is a very good collection for both new fans and longtime lovers of Herman's swinging sound.

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